EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

QUARTETnary - The card game about the geological time scale

Iris van Zelst1 and Lucia Perez-Diaz2
Iris van Zelst and Lucia Perez-Diaz
  • 1German Aerospace Center (DLR), Institute of Planetary Research, Germany (
  • 2Halliburton, Abingdon, United Kingdom

QUARTETnary is an educational card game about the geological time scale. Playable by anyone from 9 to 90, the game play follows that of the classic card game ‘quartets’, where players aim to collect sets of four cards belonging to a specific group (in this case, a certain geological time period). At the end of the game, the player with the most complete geological time line (i.e., the most quartets) wins the game! 

QUARTETnary consists of 15 different card quartets, each corresponding to a different geological eon, era, or period, starting in the Hadean and ending in the Quaternary. For each quartet, the cards represent key events, animals, or processes. For example, the Hadean consists of 1) the formation of the Moon; 2) Earth’s magma ocean; 3) the layered Earth; and 4) the first occurrence of liquid water on the planet. The cards specifically focus on geodynamic processes (i.e., the formation of Gondwanaland, Pangea, the Himalayas) and evolutionary developments (i.e., bacteria, land plants, mammals etc.) as well as major global events such as mass extinctions and the Cambrian explosion of life. They are illustrated in accordance with the official colour scheme set by the International Commission on Stratigraphy to ensure easy comparison with the official geological time scale.

Here, we present the first illustrated cards of QUARTETnary and parts of the accompanying booklet that provides more information on each of the time periods and the reasons for the inclusion of specific events on each of the cards. 

In addition, we discuss the launch of our website and twitter account in October 2021 in preparation of a kickstarter campaign to fund the production of the game within the next two years. We review how we prepared our social media campaign and show the resulting online engagement, plus illustrative reactions from the geosciences community. 

How to cite: van Zelst, I. and Perez-Diaz, L.: QUARTETnary - The card game about the geological time scale, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-652,, 2022.